Cooking with Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils

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Photo courtesy of Sarah Elizabeth

The transition of summer into fall, even in mild southern California, is a magical time for many. The chill in the morning air, the leaves slowly falling from trees, and the holidays once again on the horizon. The most salient part of the seasons change for me is the variety of aromas associated with this time of year. Pumpkins, squash, herbs and spices are everywhere and used in everything, from coffee drinks to decorations.

Essential Oils are making a cultural comeback. They are loved for their plethora of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health benefits. Using essential oils in cooking is not a new concept, but a tradition that has been passed down from ancient cultures. This tradition is now re-surfacing as people gain awareness of the many alternatives to using processed, chemically manufactured food and artificial flavors.

There are a few very important considerations to make when using essential oils for internal use. For starters the oil MUST be 100% purely distilled and therapeutic grade. Essential oils that are not labeled as therapeutic grade are not recommended for internal consumption. I recommend dōTERRA’s Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils, as I trust this company’s integrity, honesty and strict testing procedures. Another important recommendation to consider is to stick to the list of oils that have been approved as safe to consume internally by the FDA.

FDA list of Essential Oils Certified as GRAS (generally regarded as safe) as FA (food additives)

Basil, Bergamot, Cassia, Cinnamon Bark, Clary, Sage, Clove, Coriander, Frankincense, Geranium, Ginger, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Melissa, Melaleuca, Marjoram, Myrrh, Oregano, Patchouli, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Thyme, Vetiver, White, Fir, Wild Orange, Ylang Ylang

Therapeutic grade essential oils not only enhance the flavor of food and beverages, they also provide health benefits that are specific to each oil. Essential oils are steam distilled from the roots, berries, bark, stem, leaves and flowers of plants (citrus oils are cold pressed from the rind). The essential oils distilled from plants are made up of mostly carbon and water, very similar to human cells and tissues, making these oils easily assimilated and accepted by the body. Essential oils are extremely concentrated, and are 50 to 70 times more potent and therapeutically beneficial than the dried herbs and plants they come from. For this reason, it is important to use a much smaller amount of an essential oil than you would its herb counterpart. Usually, ½ to one drop of an essential oil in your favorite recipe will add as much nutritional value and flavor as a much larger portion of dried or fresh herbs.

The best time to add an essential oil to your food is at the end of cooking or after the food has cooled down. Heat can affect the oil’s natural constituents, not to mention the oil will evaporate during cooking. My very favorite recipes to use essential oils in are raw food recipes. Not only are the enzymes, vitamins and minerals more available in raw food, the essential oils will not be affected by heat.

By adding a simple drop of oregano oil to your black beans, you can truly revolutionize the flavor of the dish. Have fun using your creativity to incorporate essential oils in your kitchen. As Greek Philosopher Hippocrates so famously stated “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. During this holiday season, eat well, be well and consider the many benefits that cooking with essential oils can bring to your food and your family.

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On Guard Pumpkin Smoothie

1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
2 frozen bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie seasoning
2-3 drops On Guard Protective Blend
1 cup ice

Combine all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.
Note: For a garnish, add some whipped cream and pumpkin pie seasoning.